Rupert Murdoch has agreed to sell off the loss-making Sky News.The move is likely to be enough to win government approval for the takeover of BSkyB by his News Corp firm, the BBC's Robert Peston understands.
"Some will see that as a U-turn," said Mr Peston, as Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had promised to heed the advice of regulator Ofcom, who wanted the deal referred to the Competition Commission.
Mr Hunt is expected to require a 15-day public consultation of the takeover.
The European Commission has already ruled in favour of the takeover on competition grounds.However, Ofcom had raised concerns about the impact on media plurality and choice of news if News Corp controlled Sky News in addition to the newspapers it currently owns - the Sun, the News of the World, the Times and the Sunday Times.
In order to make a sale of the news channel viable, the BBC understands that Mr Murdoch has also agreed to provide it with a long-term contract that will have the effect of subsidising it for many years.
Even if the deal gets the nod from Mr Hunt, News Corp has yet to gain approval from BSkyB's board.